Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Close competition in the match racing organised by La Pelle, Marseille. Image copyright event organisers.
by Garth Ellingham
We arrived in Marseille on Thursday night and spent a cold and windy Friday studying the boats and preparing for the 2 day regatta.
Saturday morning and we got out on the water asap to get as much practice in before the start of race 1. We knew it would be tough getting used to the boats but tried to learn fast. It proved to be key as we lost a couple of close races by others pulling out little tricks for the J80s. The conditions were light in the morning then really choppy with a bit more puff (12 knots) in the afternoon. We finished the day with 4 wins and 3 losses. This could have quite easily been 6 wins but lost two close ones due to lack of time in the boats.
Day two was a big day for us. We had to win both our races to make the semis against guys ranked higher than us. Race one brought light and very shifty conditions. We had the perfect start and managed to put 6 boat lengths on him off the line. We sailed a few really good shifts and had a comfortable lead at the top mark. We maintained this lead until the last run when the shifty, light and puffy conditions made it hard for us to defend downwind. He got a nice puff from behind and caught right up at the finish but we just scrapped in about one meter ahead. A tough race but a much needed win.
Race two was much the same. Racing Michal Perris, the previous winner of the event, we had a glamour start and a lead that we managed to extend to about half a leg by playing some big shifts. Approaching the bottom mark “Chef Waka” realised the supermarkets didn’t open on Sundays and the fridge was empty back at home. “Chef Waka” then thought it was a great time to try and catch a feed with the comfort of a big lead. With a big catch in the net the boys then underestimated the time it would take to haul in the catch, losing our lead but gaining a very wet spinnaker. After a big scramble our lead had gone and he extended up the next beat to a comfortable lead.
Knocked out of the semis on count back to Michal we finished 5th on 5 wins. We were all a bit gutted with our effort as we knew we were definitely good enough to progress to the next rounds of the regatta. We’re going to take the positives from it and hold onto the lessons we learnt in the boats and covering in shifty conditions.
We now have a few weeks off due to the cancellation of two planned events in Portugal and Italy. We would like to thank Steffan Goldwater of Widex, Line 7, Pacific Sports Community Trust, RNZYS, Simon Dickey of Front End Design and all members of the Waka Racing supporters club.
La Pelle, Marseille